Unemployment Benefits – Not Signing PIP/Warning is No Longer “Misconduct”

This week, the California Supreme Court reversed a prior troubling decision where one appellate court held that an employee’s refusal to sign an acknowledgment form that he received a warning or PIP notice is misconduct within the meaning of unemployment insurance code, disqualifying that employee from unemployment benefits. In other words, until now – if an employee was fired for refusing to sign a warning or a PIP or any other kind of disciplinary notice, and he was terminated for just that alone, he would not have qualified for unemployment benefits.

In the most recent decision Paratransit Inc. v Unemployment Ins. Appeals Board, filed on July 3, 2014, the supreme court held that a good faith refusal to sign a disciplinary notice is not a misconduct within the meaning of Unemployment Insurance Code section 1256. Among other arguments supporting that decision, the highest Court of the state pointed that this decision is in line with the law in the other states. As long as the an employee’s decision to refuse to sign a disciplinary paperwork is “reasonable” and it doesn’t cause some kind of harm to employer’s operation, being terminated for that alone will not disqualify him from receiving unemployment benefits.

You can find the full decision of this case here.